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Purcell opera to play at Town Hall Theater

MIDDLEBURY — Opera Company of Middlebury will present one of the glories of English music, “Dido and Aeneas” by Henry Purcell, in three semi-staged concert performances at the Town Hall Theater in Middlebury the weekend of Oct. 16.
This will be the first time Opera Company of Middlebury (OCM) will present a Baroque opera. “Dido and Aeneas” premiered in 1689 and is generally considered the first great English opera.
OCM has a reputation for taking a fresh look at operas and with the intimacy of its historic 232-seat theater, has earned a reputation for innovative productions among area music lovers.
“Dido and Aeneas” will feature OCM alumni. “We have had some wonderful singers over the years,” commented artistic director Douglas Anderson, “and we have invited some of the best to return. Each one immediately said yes.”
Sara Petrocelli, mezzo-soprano, who performed in “Pearl Fishers” (2010) and at the Metropolitan Opera in “Die Meistersinger” blast fall, will sing the role of Dido, Queen of Carthage. Bray Wilkins, tenor, will sing the role of Aeneas, the Trojan Prince. Wilkins was heard in June in Turandot and in 2013 in Eugene Onegin. Returning for her third appearance at OCM will be Stephanie Weiss, now based in Berlin, as the Sorceress. She sang in OCM’s inaugural production in 2004.
Rounding out the cast will be alums Bevin Hill (“Pearl Fishers,” “La Rondine,” 10th anniversary benefit concert), Elisa Singer (“Pearl Fishers”), Barbara Paterson (“Eugene Onegin”), Olga Perez (“Eugene Onegin,” “La Traviata”), Sarah Cullins (“The Italian Girl in Algiers,” “La Traviata”), and James Flora (“Thaïs,” “La Traviata”).
Jeffrey Buettner, a specialist in early music and founder and director of the Middlebury Bach Festival, will conduct the OCM orchestra and the Middlebury College Choir.
Performances will be Friday and Saturday, Oct. 16 and 17, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 18, at 2 p.m. in the Town Hall Theater in Middlebury.
There will be a talk about the opera one hour prior to curtain each day at Memorial Baptist Church on South Pleasant Street opposite the Town Hall Theater. In addition, everyone is invited to stay after each performance for a question-and-answer session with the cast and directors. The OCM tradition of champagne on opening night for ticket holders will continue.
Tickets are $40-$50 and may be purchased at www.ocmvermont.org, by calling 802-382-9222, at the THT Box Office (Monday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m.) or at the door, if available.

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